No Diversity at the Oscars?

Lillian Lokonobei, Staff Writer

Fans all over the world tune into the Oscars each year to marvel at their favorite actors. It has always been known for its glitz and glamour as the red carpet showcases the latest in designer fashion at the star studded event. Actors, singers and directors responsible for the films in theaters grace millions of television screens as nominations are named and winners are donned. Not only do unrecognizable faces become household names, legends are created as the gold statuettes are awarded to those well-known faces many have come to love on screen.

It all begins when members of the academy select nominees in late December. Nominations are then announced in mid-January. Once the categories are sorted out, voting members then select the final winners. The ballot is announced live at the Oscars. The most recent Oscar ceremony took place Feb. 22.

Afterward many fans are left disappointed, wondering how their beloved actors, actresses and films were not awarded anything at all.

Skeptics challenge the authenticity of the votes by members of the academy. According to a 2012 study conducted by the Los Angeles Times, voting members were 94 percent Caucasian, 77 percent male with a median age of 62. Younger voters, 50 years of age and below, make up only 14 percent of the membership. In 2013, Cheryl Boone Isaacs was awarded presidency, becoming the Academy’s first female African-American president.

The lack of diversity could be subject to criticism given that it doesn’t accurately represent moviegoers. If the academy’s members were diversified, it would allow more films, actors, actresses, music and other categories to have a chance at winning in their respective group. A more diversified array of winners would be refreshing and would influence more fans to tune into the award ceremony each year.

Another issue that was raised was the issue of the Oscar’s predominantly Caucasian nominees and attendants. This year’s host Neil Patrick Harris kicked off the night by jokingly saying, “Welcome to the 87th Oscars. Tonight, we honor Hollywood’s best and whitest,” And then, after a beat: “Sorry…brightest” as quoted by the Washington Post.

Questions have been raised…are the Oscars ever going to be diverse? I believe if new, younger, members of all races and genders are integrated into the academy, we will begin to see an influx of talent from people and artists with different backgrounds up for nomination in the future. Maybe then, the red carpet can be known for its glitz and glamour as well as its melting pot of talent.